Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Take my droid... please!

I was staring at the coffee machine in our office. The fancy LCD display on the front was flashing Empty Bin. This little beauty has a bin where all the individual-serving, hermetically-sealed coffee packets go to die. The now soulless vessals must be tossed in the trash periodically and I am perfectly happy to do my part. Hey, the joe's free! On this occasion, however, the first thing that pops into my wee twisted brain is, "Oh My God! The bin is empty!"

The English language being the gloriously ambiguous enterprise that it is, I can indulge my sense of humor like this many times a day. It's a queer little life, but at least it's mine. But what if this is the secret? What if our quest to build machines that can use language will never succeed until we realize that we must include a sense-of-humor in our creations? And how about some irony, too? Sarcasm, maybe? In order to converse, an artificial mind will have to be aware of the motives and intentions of others. Perhaps paranoia and low self-esteem are just what is needed. Then good ol' Hal 2006 would have to figure out what we were all thinking - we might be conspiring against it! Is this so far fetched? We already know that our nearest relatives in the primate world display most of the same vices as we human beings.

Do you think I could get a grant to study a first rate paranoid mind like, say, Woody Allen?

(Originally posted on myspace)

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